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Ginglymostomatidae
NURSE SHARKS
Life   Vertebrata   Fish

Ginglymostoma brevicaudatum
Copyright Jeff Smith, 2006 · 3
Ginglymostoma brevicaudatum

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Ginglymostoma cirratum
© Copyright Andy Arrison, 2006 · 0
Ginglymostoma cirratum
Ginglymostoma cirratum
© Copyright Doug Perrine, 2006 · 0
Ginglymostoma cirratum

Ginglymostoma cirratum
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Ginglymostoma cirratum
Ginglymostoma
© Copyright Doug Perrine, 2006 · 0
Ginglymostoma

Ginglymostoma cirratum
© Copyright Gerald Allen, 2006 · 0
Ginglymostoma cirratum
Ginglymostomatidae
© Copyright Doug Perrine, 2006 · 0
Ginglymostomatidae
español

Overview
Main identification features
  • mouth: small, transverse, at front
  • eye oval, behind mouth
  • 1st dorsal fin over pelvics
  • under snout: 2 long barbels
  • gill slits: 5, small, 2 over pectoral
  • c: very asymmetric
FAMILY GINGLYMOSTOMATIDAE

NURSE SHARKS

Diagnostic features of nurse shark include two relatively close-set dorsal fins of about equal size on the rear half of the body, a pair of large barbels below the snout, and a groove between each nasal opening and the corner of the mouth; a short, wide, blunt snout; mouth short, almost transverse, well before the eyes; 5 gill slits, the last two very close together and above the pectoral fin; a relatively short, strongly asymmetric tail with almost no lower lobe; no teeth and tail base.

These sharks occur on coral and rocky reefs, usually close to shore. The eastern Pacific representative of this family, Ginglymostoma cirratum, is ovoviviparous, with young that are nourished mainly by yolk while in the uterus; litters of 20-30 young have been reported. These sharks cruise around the bottom in search of food with their mouth and barbels close to the substrate. They are nocturnally active and ingest prey with a powerful sucking action. The diet includes mainly fishes, crabs, shrimps, lobsters, other crustaceans, and cephalopods. Nurse sharks are generally considered to be harmless, but may bite and inflict serious injury if provoked.

A circumglobal family with 3 subtropical to tropical genera and 3 species; one species occurs in our region and in the east and west Atlantic.


References
  • Acero, A. and Franke, R., 2001., Peces del parque nacional natural Gorgona. En: Barrios, L. M. y M. Lopéz-Victoria (Eds.). Gorgona marina: Contribución al conocimiento de una isla única., INVEMAR, Serie Publicaciones Especiales No. 7:123-131.
  • Bonnaterre, J. P., 1788., Tableau encyclopédique et méthodique des trois règnes de la nature... Ichthyologie. Paris., Tabl. Encyclop. Méthod. Ichthyol., :1-215.
  • Béarez, P., 1996., Lista de los Peces Marinos del Ecuador Continental., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 44:731-741.
  • Castri-Aguirre, J.L., Espinoza-Pérez, H. and Schmitter-Soto, J.J., 2002., Lista sitemática, biogeográfica y ecológica de la ictiofauna estuarino lagunar y vicaria de México. En: Lozano-Vilano, M. L. (Ed.). Libro Jubilar en Honor al Dr. Salvador Contreras Balderas., Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León:117-142.
  • Castro-Aguirre, J.L., 1999., Ictiofauna estuarino-lagunar y vicaria de México., Editorial Limusa S.A. de C.V.: 1-629pp.
  • Compagno, L.J.V., 1999., Checklist of living elasmobranchs. In Hamlett W.C. (ed.) Sharks, skates, and rays: the biology of elasmobranch fishes., The John Hopkins University Press:471-498.
  • Compagno, L.J.V., 1984., Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of sharks species known to date. Part 1. Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Species Catalogue., FAO Fish. Synop. No 125, 4(1):1-249.
  • Findley, L.T., Hendrickx, M.E., Brusca, R.C., van der Heiden, A.M., Hastings, P.A., Torre, J., 2003., Diversidad de la Macrofauna Marina del Golfo de California, Mexico., CD-ROM versión 1.0. Projecto de la Macrofauna del Golfo .  Derechos reservados de los autores y Conservación Internacional.
  • Fischer , W. , Krup , F. , Schneider , W. , Sommer , C. , Carpenter , K. E. and Niem, V. H., 1995., Guia FAO para la Identificacion de Especies de para los fines de la Pesca. Pacifico Centro-Oriental. Volumen II. Vertebrados - Parte 1., FAO2:647-1200.
  • Galván-Magaña, F., Abitia-Cárdenas, L.A., Rodríguez-Romero, J., Pérez-España, H., Chávez-Ramos, H., 1996., Systematics list of the fishes from Cerralvo island, Baja California Sur, Mexico., Ciencias Marinas, 22:295-311.
  • Jimenez-Prado, P., Béarez, P., 2004., Peces marinos del Ecuador continental / Marine fishes of continental Ecuador., SIMBIOE/NAZCA/IFEA tomo 1 y 2.
  • Jordan , D.S. and Gilbert, C.H., 1882., List of Fishes now in the Museum of Yale College, Collected by Prof. Frank H. Bradley, at Panama, with Descriptions of Three New Species., Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus., 5:620-632.
  • Jordan, D.S., 1895., The fishes of Sinaloa., Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences (Series 2), 5:377-514.
  • Lopez , M. I. and Bussing, W. A., 1982., Lista provisional de los peces marinos de la Costa Rica., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 30(1):5-26.
  • Love, M.S., Mecklenburg, C.W., Mecklenburg, T.A., Thorsteinson, L.K., 2005., es of the West Coast and Alaska: a checklist of North Pacific and Artic Ocena species from Baja California to the Alaska-Yukon border., U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, 288pp.
  • Madrid Vera , J. , Ruíz Luna , A. and Rosado Bravo, I., 1998., Peces de la plataforma continental de Michoacán y sus relaciones regionales en el Pacífico mexicano., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 42(2):267-276.
  • Meek , S.E. and Hildebrand, S.F., 1923., The marine fishes of Panama. Part I., Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Zool. Ser. Publ., XV:1-330.
  • Ricker, K.E., 1959., Mexican shore and pelagic fishes collected from Acapulco to Cape San Lucas during the 1957 cruise of the "Marijean"., Univ. Brit. Columbia Inst. Fish., Mus. Contrib., 3:18pp.
  • Rubio, E.A., 1986., Notas sobre la ictiofauna de la Isla de Gorgona, Colombia., Boletin Ecotropica. Univ. Bog. Jorge Tadeo Lozano, 13:86-112.
  • Rubio, E.A., 1988., Estudio taxonomico de la ictiofauna acompañante del camaron en areas costeras del Pacifico de Colombia., Memorias del VI Seminario Nacional de las Ciencias del Mar. Comisión Colombiana de Oceanografía. Bogota, Colombia., :169-183.
  • Van der Heiden , A. M. and Findley, L. T., 1988., Lista de los peces marinos del sur de Sinaloa, México., Anales del Centro de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia de la Universidad Autonoma Nacional de Mexico, 15:209-224.
  • Vega, A.J., Villareal, N., 2003., Peces asociados a arrecifes y manglares en el Parque Nacional Coiba., Tecnociencia, 5:65-76.

Acknowledgements

I thank Ashley MacDonald and John Pickering, University of Georgia, for technical support in building this page.


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